Introduction: German Incense Smoker - Cottage

About: Born in Berlin in 1985, engineer, contrarian, 'The Big Bang Theory' fan, my other blog: - find me on Twitter @pixelgeb and reddit u/Stishio

First of all this is a so called "Räuchermännchen". It's used to burn incense and it is very typical for Christmas in Germany.

I build a different smoker for my wife as a Christmas gift. You can find this instructable here:

We are traditionally celebrating Christmas with all our family members. I didn't want anybody to envy my wife about her present. That's why I've created this smoker and built four pieces of it - each for my parents, my parents in law, my grandma and my sister in law. To be honest, I have build seven. The first one was the proof on concept and belongs now to our collection of smokers. The last two were made for friends, who saw the smokers and wanted to have one for their own. The fotos in this instructable were taken at different times and may show different smokers. So please don't be confused, if the cottages look not identical.

I've started with a small sketch. Everything can be done at home with a small set of tools and material. Enjoy.

### Disclaimer ###
I got a nice hint by esamosfet on my other smoker project:

But hey, isn't incense smoke a source of pm10 and particulate? This should be used with parsimony. Regards, Max.

You might want to use the smoker with deliberation.

Step 1: Blueprint

I use two different hard wood slabs. One with a thickness of 6mm for the entire cottage and the base. The second slab has a thickness of 15mm and is used for the chimney.

Step 2: Materials and Tools

What's needed?

  • Two hard wood slabs with different thicknesses. I use 15mm and 6mm, but you can use different size as well. The final appearance may differ, but that's the idea about DIY stuff, isn't it? :D
  • Measurement devices
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Wood drills
  • Electrical driller
  • Screw clamps
  • Clear lacquer
  • Brush
  • Wood glue
  • Cutting heads
  • A coin as a base for the incense cone
  • Grinding paper


  • Chop saw for cutting all pieces. You can use a hand saw or jigsaw as well, but the finish is better with the chop saw
  • Milling machine for finishing the edges of the ground plate. You can use grinding paper as well. I use the milling machine to mill notches for joining the body parts together.

Step 3: The Cottage Body

I use my chop saw to cut the four body parts out of the 6mm thick slab. The front and back panels have the same sizes as well as the side panels. My chop saw can be rotated and I use this function to cut out 45° triangles from the front and back part.

It's important to know which kind of joint do you want to use. I'll use my milling machine to cut small notches in the front and back panels. The width of the notch is 6mm (same size as the thickness of the side panels) and the depth is 3mm (half the size of the thickness). That's why I cut the side panels 6mm shorter than the front/back panel. After glueing together the body will have a dimension of 60x60mm. You can use another type of joints, but adjust the sizes of the panels accordingly.

I use a 20mm driller to cut out a small part on the bak panel. This is where the air flows in for the ventilation.

Step 4: The Roof

I use my chop saw to cut the two roof parts. The roof consists of two identical panels. I use 6mm thick slab again to cut out the parts. My chop saw has the advantage, that it can be rotated and tilted. I tilt it in a 45° angle and use it to cut out the roof top, where the two parts will be joint together later.

I use a saw to cut small notches in the roof parts. This creates the illusion of roofing tiles being on the roof. Now I can drill a 8mm thick hole in one roof side. It's important to drill this hole close to the edge, where the 45° angle was cut out before. Otherwise the chimney would not appear to be close to the roof top.

Step 5: The Base

The base consists of two panels, also cutouts from the 6mm thick slab. The large one is the base and the smaller one holds the incense cone and the prevents the cottage body from moving on the base. The middle part has a size of approximately 45mm, but just measure the inner dimension of the cottage body. It's important to have some play so that the cottage can be lifted easily.

I use my milling machine to apply a nice finish to the edges of the base. You can easily achieve this with grinding paper as well.

I use a 20mm driller to drill a small and not so deep hole in the middle plate. The coin will be glued here later.

Step 6: The Chimney

For the chimney I use a 15mm thick slab and I cut out a 30mm long and 15mm wide piece. It's important to drill the hole before cutting the 45° angle. I use a screw clamp to hold the part and to prevent it from breaking. Now I can drill a hole right through the whole piece with a 8mm diameter. The last step is to cut a 45° angle on one edge. You can finish the hole with a groove cutter (well I don't know how this thing is called exactly, but it is used to break the edges of an hole. You can see it in the last foto).

Step 7: The Door and Windows

I remove one layer of my plywood with a cutter knife (You can use thin pieces of wood from the DIY market as well) and cut out two windows and one door.

You can use different ways to make these. For example you could paint the window on the front panel or use a soldering iron to brand in the door. It's all up to you :)

Step 8: Assembling and Glueing the Parts

Now all parts are prepared to be joined together. At first I glue the door and the windows on the front panels. Next step is glueing the middle plate on the base plate. I continue with glueing the cottage body parts together. Now comes the roof. The last step ist to glue the chimney on the roof right on the hole.

Step 9: Finishing

After everything is hardened I use some grinding paper to remove small edges and the rest of the wood glue. Now everything is ready to be lacquered. I use two layers on all parts.

When the lacquer is dried, I glue the coin to the hole in the inner platform.

Step 10: Done

Finally the smoker cottage is finished and can be tested :D

It's difficult to catch the smoke on camera, but let me tell you, that this is working pretty good. It has a very good draught and exhales the scent to the whole room. I hope my family members will like it. I've made seven of the smoker yet.

I hope you will enjoy building this. Please let me know your experiences and improvements. Please put photos in the comments. :)

Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

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Homemade Gifts Contest 2016